Tags: facebook | developers | surveillance

Facebook Developer Surveillance Tools Can No Longer Use Data

Image: Facebook Developer Surveillance Tools Can No Longer Use Data

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By    |   Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 07:01 AM

Facebook developers are now banned from using the company's data as a surveillance tool, the social media giant announced, a move that cuts off police from information used to monitor protesters and activists online.

Facebook and other social media outlets have come under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups for working with third party vendors to market their data on social media accounts to law enforcement, according to the Washington Post.

The ACLU published documents last year that made references to tracking activists at protests in Baltimore in 2015 after the police-related death of Freddie Gray and during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the police shooting of Michael Brown.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter ended their relationship with Geofeedia, a start-up that shared data with law enforcement after the ACLU report, noted the Post.

"Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot 'use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance,'" Facebook said on Monday.

"Our goal is to make our policy explicit. Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply."

Some law enforcement agencies have praised the use of social media in enabling them to capture criminals and identify suspects who post their crimes and connections on the platforms, reported The Atlantic in 2015.

Malkia Cyril, executive director for the Center for Media Justice, argued that monitoring legal activities such as protests and tracking activists "chills democratic dissent and gives authoritarianism a license to thrive."

She called Facebook's move a good "first step" and called on other social media outlets to do the same.

Nicole Ozer, the technology and civil liberties director at the ACLU of California, said the public depends on social networks to gather and communication about social and political issues.

"Now more than ever, we expect companies to slam shut any surveillance side doors and make sure nobody can use their platforms to target people of color and activists."

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Facebook developers are now banned from using the company's data as surveillance tools, the social media giant announced on Monday, a move that cuts off police from information used to monitor protesters and activists online.
facebook, developers, surveillance
367
2017-01-14
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 07:01 AM
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